I’m sitting in a Starbucks, enjoying my free Earth Day coffee, trying to figure out how much financial aid I need to accept for fall semester so I can get a sizeable refund… enough to have some extra spending money to make ends meet.
I have been unemployed for a year and 5 months, give or take a week or two. My “job” has become looking for a job. Ironic, isn’t it? Days are spent researching the usual lists I keep tabs on for new postings, trying to be creative and thinking out of the box for non-traditional opportunities, editing my cover letter to fit the (very few) jobs I find to apply for, and emailing documents or packing up an envelope to mail off with fingers crossed.
The biggest hurdle I struggle with is in the application to jobs. I have both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s, and am working on a certificate that I could leverage into a second Master’s if I choose in the future. I have work experience, of all shapes and sizes, and for all intents and purposes, am more than qualified for every single position I apply for. Yet the rejection letters come flooding in, and the folder I keep is quickly becoming more no’s than yes’s or pending’s. Last letter I got said they had over 300 applicants and were interviewing 12. The letter promised that they reviewed my application with detail and were very sorry they couldn’t offer me a position but they’ll keep it on file for the next year. Just in case. The best part is the “Dear Applicant…” at the top of the letter. If you can’t even address a letter personally, how can I be sure that you really, truly reviewed my materials with any kind of consideration?
Of course I get the “just apply to wherever, I’m sure McDonald’s is hiring” response from just about everyone that already has a job and forgets what it’s like to devote so much time and energy to educating yourself, trying to be more competitive, only to be told you’re just not quite good enough. The trouble is, I’ve applied for the part-time jobs. I had a few interviews that I thought were “it”, that for once, things were going to work out. On the whole I don’t even get contacted because they see my education and work experience and I’m labeled a “flight risk”. They know they can hire someone for less pay that will stay longer and don’t even consider me. Ahh, the great Catch-22. Lie and don’t divulge my education and experience, but probably not be regarded as having marketable skills. Or tell the truth and not be considered because I’m over-qualified…?
To check out Kristin’s mad skills, check out her Linkedin profile here.